TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: BMW Cut From Google Search For Cheating

BMW Cut From Google Search For Cheating

Nancy Gohring (
Mon, 6 Feb 2006 13:46:33 -0600

BMW Cut From Google Results for Cheating
Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service

In a move that analysts say indicates a problem that still needs a
solution, Google has removed BMW's German Web site from its index for
violating Google's guidelines against trying to manipulate search

The move was first reported by Google employee Matt Cutts in a posting
to his blog on Saturday. He said had been removed last week
because certain pages on the site would show up one way when the
search engine visited the page but when a Web user opened the page, a
redirect mechanism would display a completely different page. Google
noted that "you cannot show us one page, then show other users
different pages."

Cutts wrote that the practice violates Google's guidelines,
particularly the principle that states: "Don't deceive your users or
present different content to search engines than you display to
users." Google's guidelines also specifically include an item that
recommends that Web site creators don't employ cloaking or sneaky

Cutts' blog posting also said that would be removed from
Google's index soon for similar reasons. In mid-January, Cutts wrote
in his blog that he was offering a courtesy notice to designers of
non-English language sites that starting in 2006 Google would be
paying closer attention to tricks that go against Google's guidelines.

A Google spokesperson confirmed via e-mail that the site has
been removed but would not comment further on the specific case,
adding that Google cannot tolerate sites that try to manipulate search

Cutts wrote that he expects that Google's Web spam team will require a
re-inclusion request including details on who created the misleading
pages before is included in the database again. He said that
some of the offending pages had already been removed.

Setting an Example

Removing from the Google database sets a high-profile example
because BMW's Web site practices have been discussed online for years,
said Hellen Omwando, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. Still,
Google's actions don't tackle the source of a problem, she said.

"Google needs to focus on enhancing its algorithms to deal with this
kind of situation because right now BMW isn't the only company that
does this," she said. In addition to better technology, Google should
add some human editors to help prevent manipulation, she said.

Companies commonly employ a range of techniques to try to ensure that
their sites rank first when users search for them. Part of the problem
that Google faces, however, is that there's a fine line between site
optimization and tricky practices that manipulate results, Omwando

While the situation points to the control Google has on the
type of information that users can access on the Web, Omwando said
that if Google takes that too far it will only hurt itself. "Google is
saying, 'we're the gatekeepers, if you will, of the information on the
Web and if you'd like to be a part of that database you need to step
in line,'" she said. However, if Google prevents users from accessing
information they seek, they'll look elsewhere for that information,
she notes.

Google's response was "certainly that is true, but what you show us,
has to what you show everyone. Put up whatever kind of web page you
like, but do not be deceptive about it. So people will look elsewhere
for information if we do not go along and give folks the same
deceptive information other search engines give them?"

Currently, a Google search for "BMW Germany" turns up BMW's
international Web page first and a link to a story about being
removed from Google's index second. A Yahoo search turns up
first and second.

Copyright 2006 PC World Communications, Inc.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more technical reports please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Nicole Maestri: "Toys Go on Parade at New York's Annual Fair"
Go to Previous message: David Wolff: "Re: Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page